Estrada says ‘jueteng’ covered by crackdown on illegal gambling
MANILA, Philippines—Jueteng, a form of illegal gambling based on the drawing of numbers, is included in the all-out war against illegal gambling in Manila, Mayor Joseph Estrada said Tuesday.
“I said ‘all other forms of illegal gambling;’ there’s no exception,” Estrada told the Inquirer in a telephone interview. He maintained that jueteng ought to be legalized but, “in the meantime, it is still illegal so we should stop it.”
Estrada was reacting to an Inquirer article on Tuesday titled, “Estrada to crack down on all forms of illegal gambling, except ‘jueteng’.” The original story did not categorically say that Estrada “excluded” jueteng, only that he failed to specifically mention it in his speech.
Estrada during Monday’s police command conference declared a one-strike policy for police station commanders. They will be relieved if illegal gambling activities are found in their area of responsibility.
Told that Archbishop Emeritus Oscar Cruz has called on him to put a stop to jueteng, Estrada said, “Jueteng could be stopped, but what’s the alternative livelihood for the 163,000 people who work as collectors?”
“They might resort to stealing or illegal drugs because a hungry stomach knows no law,” he said. “Why are casinos legal but not jueteng? Why not go after casinos? Because it’s the gambling of the rich?” Estrada said.
Estrada, who was ousted from the presidency of the republic in 2001, was subsequently convicted of plunder, arising partly from charges he collected millions of pesos from payoffs made by jueteng lords. Then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who took over from Estrada following his ouster, pardoned him a month after his conviction.
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